Teenage drivers have a higher risk of accidents than any other age category, in part because of their lack of experience and skill behind the wheel. Learning how to drive safely and correctly, however, can go a long way toward improving teens’ outcomes. Whether you’re a teen driver or a parent looking for better driving tips, take these factors into consideration to help enhance teen safety behind the wheel.

1. Store the phone out of reach.

Teen drivers suffer from higher rates of distraction than other drivers. They may have more trouble remembering not to check a text message while driving or struggle more to pay adequate attention to the road while dealing with a phone call or email. Storing the phone out of reach while behind the wheel can help prevent dangerous distracted driving behaviors.

2. Avoid eating and drinking while driving.

Most people, especially teens, may assume that only texting and driving poses a substantial danger behind the wheel. In reality, however, any type of distracted behavior can lead to disaster. Avoid eating and drinking while driving, especially messy foods. If you must get a drink, wait until you bring the car to a full stop.

3. Program the GPS before you pull out onto the road.

A GPS can make it easier to find your way around, especially soon after you get your license. If you need to use the GPS, however, make sure you program it before you pull out onto the road. Paying attention to the GPS, whether it’s internal to the car or on your phone, can make it difficult to keep your eyes on the road, where they belong.

4. Always wear your seat belt.

Modern vehicles, more than older ones, often have loud seat belt reminders that will continue to go off until you buckle up–and with good reason. Wearing your seat belt can provide vital protection during an accident, decreasing the risk of serious injury and increasing the odds that you will walk safely away from the scene.

5. Know your comfort zone.

Some drivers feel comfortable under all circumstances and in all weather conditions. Others, on the other hand, may need more time before they feel truly comfortable driving in heavy rain or in icy conditions. Know your comfort zone. If you do not feel safe driving, pull safely off the road and call someone to come get you. It’s always better to call a parent for a safe ride home than to continue driving when you feel unsafe.

6. Share your determination to drive safely with your passengers.

Let passengers know that they must wear a seat belt in your car and that they must not distract you while driving. Do not transport friends who cannot adhere to your rules, even under pressure. If needed, stop the car until the distracting behavior ends.

7. Continue to practice with your parents, especially in dangerous conditions.

To prevent yourself from falling into bad habits while driving, continue to drive with your parents on a regular basis. They may pick up bad habits or potentially dangerous behaviors before they become a more serious problem. When you do ride with your parents, watch their driving behaviors to help pick up good tips.

8. Do not assume other drivers will make way for you.

Always assume that other drivers pose a potential hazard on the road. Get used to looking for ways out of potentially sticky situations. Plan for the possibility that another car will pull out in front of you or slam on its brakes suddenly. When you assume other drivers will not necessarily drive safely, it increases your ability to respond. Plan ahead for what you might do in a dangerous scenario.

9. Leave plenty of following distance between you and the next vehicle.

In tight traffic, it may prove difficult to maintain a safe distance without another vehicle sliding into the available space. Leaving that space, however, can make a big difference if someone does need to slam on their brakes quickly. Get in the habit of leaving plenty of following distance. Never tailgate another vehicle. Keep in mind that in bad weather, you need more room to maneuver than you do in good weather, and leave extra following room.

10. Leave early so that you have plenty of time to reach your destination.

Accidents occur more frequently when drivers suffer from high levels of stress and impatience. If you must rush, you may catch yourself tailgating, speeding, and ignoring safety precautions you know you need to take. Unfortunately, those behaviors can all significantly raise your risk of an accident. Instead, leave early. Give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination. Not only can that simple step substantially reduce your overall frustration, it can make it more likely that you will reach your destination safely.

11. Do not speed.

Many teen drivers, in particular, give in to the temptation to speed, especially when in a hurry. Unfortunately, while speeding does significantly increase accident risk, it does not, in many cases, help you reach your destination that much faster. At 60 miles per hour, if you need to travel 60 miles, you can only shave 10 minutes off your time by increasing your speed to 70. If you need to travel around town, with red lights, stop signs, and traffic patterns that have the potential to slow you down, speeding may fail to improve your arrival time at all. Instead, get in the habit of following the speed limit any time you need to drive, even if you think it will help you get to your destination faster.

While speeding is a common concern, there are other road hazards that drivers, especially teens, should be aware of. For instance, debris from truck tires can pose a significant threat on highways. It’s essential to understand who might be liable for truck tire debris on the road. Additionally, as a parent, ensuring the safety of your child is paramount. Knowing how to protect your child in the event of an accident can make a crucial difference. Furthermore, injuries like road rash can have lasting implications. If you or someone you know has suffered such an injury, it’s vital to be informed about the process of filing a road rash injury claim.

Teen drivers have a higher accident risk, but that does not necessarily mean that teens bear fault for every accident that happens with them behind the wheel. If your teen suffered injuries in a serious auto accident, Gina Corena & Assoicates can help. Contact us today at 702-680-1111 to schedule a consultation or to learn more about your teen’s rights following a serious auto accident.

As founder of Gina Corena & Associates, she is dedicated to fighting for the rights of the people who suffer life-changing personal injuries in car, truck and motorcycle accidents as well as other types of personal injury. Gina feels fortunate to serve the Nevada community and hold wrongdoers accountable for their harm to her clients.

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